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If an iPhone Can Be a Cash Register, What Can Google Glass Be?


Google Glass may be defined by what we can't yet imagine.

When I need soap or toothpaste, I head to the Rite-Aid around the corner from my house.

But when I'm in the mood for something special -- like a water-activated gel cleanser or a honey-almond body scrub -- I head to Sephora.

And do you know what's interesting about shopping at Sephora?

The fact that I see Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones functioning as cash registers -- just like at Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) and JC Penney (NYSE:JCP).

Now what's the significance of this?


The most interesting aspect of the mobile device boom may be the degree to which app (remember when we called it software?) developers have come up with interesting ways to use smartphones and tablets.

Seven or eight years ago, it seemed obvious that one day, mobile phones would be good for activities like photography, music/video playback, and gaming.


Because the functionality was there, just in lo-fi form.

Heck, it wasn't until the iPhone was released in 2007 that we saw how good mobile Internet could be.

But look at what's happening today.

You can now use an iPad as a music synthesizer or as a way to analyze your baseball swing.

You can also load up an app like Shazam, hold your iPhone mic up to a speaker, and find out what song is playing.

Forget child's play like email and HD video -- this is some wacky stuff!

And this is why I'm excited about Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass, my concerns about privacy and 24/7 Google-led surveillance notwithstanding.

This week, Google announced the specifications of the inaugural version of Glass, the company's augmented reality glasses technology, where information gets beamed directly into your point of view.

The tech blogosphere is focused on the specifications, like the 5-megapixel camera, 720p video recording capabilities, and 12 gigabytes of storage.

However, the ultimate success of Google Glass may be dictated by external developers that provide functionality we can't even imagine right now.

Above, I outlined some surprising uses for smartphone and tablets, enabled by app development.

There is a definite possibility for similar innovation in Google Glass.

What if Glass can tell you how far you hit a golf ball?

Or automatically record a video of you putting down your car keys after a long night out?

How about warning you that there's a shady character hiding in a doorway 25 feet in front of you?

The societal implications for Google Glass, both good and bad, remain unclear.

But regardless, the conversations we're having now about Glass are barely skimming the surface of what we could be discussing years from now. And ultimately, the unconventional -- and possibly controversial -- Glass functions that haven't even been thought of yet may be what ultimately drive its success.

Also see:

Apple's Problem With iPhone Numbers

Time Out! If You Didn't Know PC Sales Were Horrible, Then You Haven't Been Paying Attention

Facebook Home Is Brilliant, While Presenting Interesting Questions for Google Android

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